Joshua Woodley, a year 3 pupil at Noremarsh Junior School, came home with gold on Sunday, 22 May, after sparring in his first ever Taekwon-Do competition.
Joshua, who only took up the sport last year, joined 700 competitors at The Welsh Championships in Cardiff on Sunday, 22 May.
With 16 boys competing in Joshua’s category ‘boys’ yellow belt’, Joshua first had to battle his nerves before sparring with the first of four opponents. On winning the competiton, Joshua said: “My last opponent was a little bit harder than all the rest, but when I won I could hear my crowd cheering for me and that made me feel really happy.”
Joshua celebrated becoming a Taekwon-Do champion, saying that: “When we got home my mum put sweets in my Trophy and I ate them all!”. The trophy will take pride of place in his bedroom when he goes to bed, and when he is downstairs he will place the trophy on the table.
His Mum, Zoe, is very proud of Joshua and has said: “It is the first time he has competed and whilst nervous at first, he gave it his all when he was sparring. Both me and his dad are super proud of his achievement.”
Joshua and his dad Steve, train at Noremarsh Junior school every Thursday with their local Taekwon-Do club, Wootton Bassett TAGB.
Mr Paul Luker the club’s instructor explained: “Joshua started training with us in August 2021 with his Dad Steve. Both have taken two gradings and have progressed to yellow belt – 8 th Kup.”
Speaking about the benefits of Taekwon-Do, Luker said it allows a family to “train together with improvements in mental ability, concentration, fitness levels and confidence in both adults and children.” Joshua’s Mum agreed, saying that: “Joining the club has given Joshua a lot more confidence in himself and especially since winning his category on Sunday.”
She praised the 'excellent instructors' at the club, who have instilled the children with 'confidence in themselves' and provided them with the 'discipline of Taekwon-Do.'
The Head teacher of Noremarsh Junior School, Hilary MacMeekin, has stated that: “We are really ambitious for all of our children, with their learning and all their other interests. We know that all our children are different and we praise and celebrate all the different ways that they are successful in school and out.”
Talking about Joshua’s achievement she continued: “To have achieved this at his first ever competition is absolutely brilliant. We know the hard work, commitment and bravery it will have taken him to get to this point, to set foot on the mats and face all those opponents.”
Asked about his future plans for Taekwon-Do, Joshua said: “I really enjoy the sparring and might do another competition if it is not too far.” With a local junior championship being held in Weston Super Mare in July he just might get his wish.
Taekwon-Do is a martial art developed in Korea in the 1950s, and is becoming increasingly popular here in the UK. For those of you interested in learning Taekwon-Do, the TAGB is the largest martial arts organisation in the UK with over 600 clubs across Britain, where you can be taught the martial art. You can find your local Taekwon-Do club at www.trytaekwondo.co.uk.